English LanguageStart - Smart Words


Culture refers to the individual traditions and customs of a country, and can be very interesting for any student learning English.
Learning about culture can provide you with greater knowledge of the western world and the English language, and will enhance your English learning through variety and interest. This site pays particular focus on British English customs but also tries to include the main American customs.


Just in case you weere wondering: the UK is short for “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”! It is a sovereign state (in the same way as Germany or the USA) but is made up of four autonomous regions (“countries”): England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Great Britain encompasses only three regions: England, Scotland and Wales.


Culture - In England Do...

Do stand in line:
In England we like to form orderly queues (standing in line) and wait patiently for our turn eg. boarding a bus. 'Queue jumping' is frowned upon.

Do say 'Excuse Me':
If someone is blocking your way and you would like them to move say excuse me and they will move out of your way.

Do Pay as you Go:
Pay for drinks as you order them in pubs and other types of bars.

Do say 'Please' and 'Thank-you':
It is very good manners to say 'please' and 'thank-you'. It is considered rude if you don't

Do cover your Mouth:
When yawning or coughing always cover your mouth with your hand.

Do Shake Hands:
When you are first introduced to someone, shake their right hand with your own right hand.

Do Smile:
A smiling face is a welcoming face.

Do Drive on the left side of the road:

Culture - In England Do Not...

Do not greet people with a kiss:
We only kiss people who are close friends and relatives.

Do not talk loudly in public

Do not stare at anyone in public.
Privacy is highly regarded.

Do not pick your nose in public:
We are disgusted by this.

Do not do gestures such as backslapping and hugging.

Do not pass wind in public:
Through any bodily orifice!

Do not speak with your mouth full of food:

Do not ask personal or intimate questions:
We like our privacy. Please do not ask questions such as "How much money do you earn?" "How much do you weigh?" or "Why aren't you married?".

Do not eat off a knife when having a meal.